So you have bought yourself a baby Pleco and obviously, you would like it to flourish in your tank. Before we look into how to keep baby Plecos alive be sure that it looks healthy when purchasing it from your aquatic dealer. Check that the fish is alert and is aware of its surroundings. If you can see its eyes they should be clear and bright and not dull or glazed over. Check the fins are all intact and not torn or ripped in any way. If fish are poorly some of its tank mates may start picking on it and damage the fins and tail. Lastly, just give it a once over for spots of any kind or any fungus. If all this is good and the fish is swimming well and alert, then you are good to go.
How To Keep Baby Plecos Alive
Research The Fish
Firstly, before you even think about buying a Pleco for your tank do some research on the fish breed. If your aquarium already has fish occupying it you will need to check if they are compatible with Plecos. Most Plecos are fairly chilled out and will get on with most other species. Fish such as Guppies, Mollies, and Gourami are all good fish amongst plenty of others that get on with Plecos. The worst fish you can possibly put with a Pleco is another Pleco. These fish can be highly territorial and can end up causing serious harm to one another. So only one Pleco per tank is the general rule.
Good Water Quality
This kind of goes without saying, but if you want to keep your baby Plecos alive keep an eye on your water conditions. Pleco’s quite like a current in the water obviously while they are young you will not want too strong a current. Temperature-wise anything between 70F and 80F will suffice. If you can keep your PH between 7.0 and 8.0 you should end up with a happy baby Pleco.
Give The Pleco Plenty Of Room
Even though it is a single fish and not a shoal fish, Plecos need a fair bit of room to roam around. If you have a relatively small tank then you won’t be needing a Pleco such as the common Pleco that could reach 15 inches is length. Instead go for something like a Bristle nose Pleco. These are good placid fish that will grow 3-6 inches long depending on the conditions.
Provide Shelter For Your Baby Pleco
A Pleco is a type of catfish so they are bottom dwellers. Most bottom dwellers like to hide amongst structures, Plecos are no exception, especially when they are babies. Make sure they have structures such as driftwood and rocks to hide under. If they can hide, if they get too stressed it will help in chilling them out. They will also like to hide in sandy substrates so sand instead of gravel is a good shout.
Vary The Pleco’s Diet
A Pleco isn’t too fussy when it comes to food. But if you want a healthy Pleco then it is important to vary the diet. They will eat most types of fish food because they are natural scavengers. But a Pleco-specific food is a good move because it will have all the nutrients they will need. They will also eat organic matter such as algae, cucumber, and types of lettuce, just steer clear of the iceberg.
How Long Does A Pleco Live?
This really does depend on the conditions of the aquarium. If the parameters and surroundings are spot on then an average Pleco could live between 10 and 15 years. So when buying one for your tank it is worth taking this into consideration.
Best Pleco For Beginners
All Plecos are relatively hardy and fairly easy to look after. But the Bristle nose Pleco is probably the best species for a beginner. The Bristle nose is a placid fish and is readily available in most aquatic stores worldwide. They will also do a superb job of keeping your tank clean for you, can’t be bad!
My Top 3 Plecos For Beginners
Plecos come in a variety of shapes and sizes with over 150 species known worldwide. As you can imagine they all have different requirements to maintain a healthy fish. Some of the Plecos such as the common Pleco will simply outgrow the average aquarium. Once you have successfully sussed out ‘how to keep baby Plecos alive’ you want them to remain nice and healthy. To achieve this you need to start with the right species. Here are my top 3 Plecos for beginners.
The Bristle Nosed Pleco
To me, the Bristle nose is one of the best Plecos for any beginner tank. They are very hardy fish that aren’t too fussy about their water conditions. Around 70F is an ideal temperature with a Ph of 6.5 – 7.5. The Bristle nose is a placid member of the Pleco family and will happily get on with most other fish species. These fish only grow up to about 5 – 10 inches long, so a huge tank isn’t needed.
The Candy Striped Pleco
These fish are another species of Pleco that won’t outgrow the average aquarium. Fully grown they shouldn’t grow any larger than about 4 inches. The Candy Striped Pleco will happily eat your algae but will need a varied diet. When mixing with other fish they may get a little territorial towards other bottom dwellers, so surface and midwater fish are best tank mates.
The Clown Pleco
Last on my list is the stunning-looking Clown Pleco. These are another hardy fish that could live up to around 10 years old. Temperature-wise the water should be around 73F – 84F with a PH of 6.6 – 7.6. It is a good idea to get some driftwood in the tank with Clown Plecos. Not only will they use it for hiding under they will also eat the algae that form on it as well as eating the wood itself.
Final Thoughts On Keeping Baby Plecos Alive
Keeping baby Plecos alive may not be as hard as some people think. As long as they have comfortable surroundings and the parameters are somewhere near they should be fine. Just remember the one thing that will turn them aggressive is another Pleco. These fish are a great asset to most tanks and will give you years of enjoyment.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do Pleco eggs take to hatch?
Pleco eggs really do not take long to hatch at all. If the Plecos are in perfect surroundings then it can be in as little as 4 to 10 days to hatch into babies.
Can a Pleco bite?
Indeed Plecos do have teeth, but the chances of them biting you is minimal. In fact, they are unlikely to bite anything else apart from another Pleco. They have a very placid nature towards any other breeds of fish.
Do Plecos eat dead fish?
The answer to this is yes, they will eat a dead fish. Plecos are natural scavengers and will see a dead fish as a natural food source. This is the reason they are also known as the janitor fish, they tend to keep the aquarium nice and clean.
Do Plecos like driftwood?
Yep, Plecos definitely like driftwood for several reasons. Firstly it gives them something to hide under. Secondly, the algae that will grow on it is a good source of food. Thirdly they will actually eat the wood itself. Softwood such as spider wood is a particular favourite.
Do Plecos eat snails?
There are lots of fish available that do eat snails, but Plecos aren’t one of them. Plecos will scavenge around your aquarium indulging on most things they come across, but snails are certainly not on their menu.